A totally removable wall covering

A while back I shared my tips for creating a totally removable fabric wall covering on Design*Sponge. I love the ease and relative flexibility of this project because wallpaper can be super-intimidating, whether you’re a renter who’s simply not allowed to adhere anything to your walls or someone who lived through the 80s and has bad memories of even-worse wallpapers. The materials and labor are not cheap, and what if you change your mind? The options are basically endless for fabric walls & I can’t wait to tray out another version some time soon!!! In the mean time, keep reading for my full step-by-step guide, or head over to the One Kings Lane Style Blog to check out the video and see the hanging process in action. 

To keep costs super low, I made a hand-dyed fabric the mimics the look of Shibori to adorn the walls of our bedroom for the project. I used several yards of Muslin (an inexpensive fabric used mostly for pattern making) and a couple bottles of Gray Rit Dye to create my fabric. 

Cut & Dye

To get started I measured and cut my fabric to fit, leaving an extra couple of inches on all sides (you’ll cut that off later). Once I had my fabric sections cut, I folded the lengths of the fabric accordion style and held the folds in place with large binder clips. Next, I mixed up a batch of Rit dye according to the instructions on the bottle. To help the dye wick through the fabric, I completely wet my folded fabric bundles. Once my bundles we damp, I rested the folded edges of the fabric in the dye for about 12 min.  I recommend using a large plastic storage bin because it allows you to dye several pieces and once. The dye only needs to be a few inches deep, to achieve a look like mine. The dye should only come up one or two inches from the folded edge.   Getting the dye exactly like you want it requires a little trial and error. 

I created this treatment for our bedroom where we have a very typical New York City, style moldings that created a perfect frame for the fabric application. This allowed me to only cover a portion of the wall. Although this technique totally works for an all over treatment, matching up the seams can be slightly more complicated. 

 To Hang The fabric, Here’s What You’ll Need:

• Medium-weight or lightweight natural-fiber fabric (enough to cover your wall)
• A small foam roller and a roller pan
• Liquid starch (approximately one gallon per five yards)
• A large bucket or bowl
• Scissors
• A craft knife
• A rotary cutter

Wet the Fabric

Place the Fabric over a bowl or bucket, and pour the liquid over it until it’s saturated. Once it’s totally wet, wring out the excess starch into the bowl and set aside (don’t discard!). 

Place the Fabric  

The wet fabric will stick really well to the wall. I used a couple of push pins to hold in place at the top and my hands to smooth it out.

I found that the fabric stayed wet for a pretty long time, but if it drys out while you’re placing it or if you need to adjust a spot that has dried out, dip your foam roller into the starch and use it to rewet the fabric and smooth out as needed.  

Trim

Once the fabric is in place, use a craft knife to trim away the excesses. I found that the craft knife worked really well for tight corners, but for longer cuts I used a rotary cutter.

Finishing up

It takes 1-2 hours for the fabric to dry. When you’re ready for a new look simply wet the fabric and peel it off.

FIN!  

My Friend and super talented photographer Manuel Rodrigues created the video and shot most of the images in this story.

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